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Mayor’s Message

Washington: A Name to be Proud of

A few months ago I invited student athletes from Crimson Cliffs High School, whose teams had won state championships in baseball, tennis, and soccer, to City Hall to be recognized in front of the City Council. While there, I asked each student to introduce themselves and share what it meant to represent their school and Washington City. I couldn’t have been more impressed with their responses, which included topics like family, community, and support from coaches and friends.

Days later I happened to be at a wedding sitting next to one of the young athletes and his family. He introduced us, and as we were getting acquainted, his dad said “We recently moved to St George…” at which point the young man quickly interjected, “Dad, it’s Washington, we moved to Washington”.

My wife subtly nudged and smiled at me. She knows I’m constantly working every angle to get Washington on the map and recognized as distinct and separate from our neighbors. I mean, if you watch the weather during the nightly news, you see cities like Orem, Kanab, Farmington, or Blanding on the map, but not Washington. News anchors often label and refer to all of Washington County as “St George”.

Last month I visited a state agency in Salt Lake City where we discussed  some of the challenges and opportunities we’re facing in Washington City. The Director had a giant map hanging on the wall of her corner office detailing all the SITLA parcels throughout Utah. She assured me the agency was aware of us and that we were on the map. On the way out, I looked closer at the map only to discover the area covering Washington’s geographical territory was listed as “St George North”. Of course I pointed that out, and did so with as much self restraint as could be expected of a Mayor whose City was in fact not listed.

There’s no doubt that Washington is not as well known as St George, and that our name can be confusing at times. If you say you live in Washington, people can wonder if you mean the State, the County, or even DC, so people sometimes say St George to avoid confusion. I understand that. However, grouping cities and communities in this way fails to recognize the rich heritages and unique qualities of each individual city.

Last July a home grown young man was selected 61st in the MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. Hearing the news I reached out to his family to offer congratulations. They shared with me a picture of his profile that was airing on ESPN and being talked about by sports broadcasters from coast to coast. His profile included a line that said Home: Washington, UT. I got a text from one of his family members that read “The support of this community is unreal! I am so proud every time they say Washington, UT!”

I too feel the support of this community, and I’m so proud every time I hear people say Washington, UT. There’s a lot to be loved about Washington. Our population is expanding because we’re a city that offers an unmatched quality of life where everyone feels welcome. Our history of hard work, grit, and determination permeates our culture today. Our recreation, trails, hiking, and parks are top notch. Our neighborhoods, whether its Green Springs, Downtown, Brio, Coral Canyon, or the Fields are full of kind people who look out for one another. Washington was recently named the best small city in the entire country to start a business. Our city leaders balance the budget, keep taxes low, and trust city residents to govern themselves. Washington is a place where people thrive!

-Kress Staheli


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Washington City Utah | (435) 656-6300
111 North 100 East | Washington, Utah 84780 [map]
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